« ForrigeFortsett »
A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
The judge rode slowly down the lane,
He drew his bridle in the shade
And ask a draught from the spring that flowed Through the meadow, across the road.
She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And blushed as she gave it, looking down
“Thanks !” said the judge, “a sweeter draught From a fairer hand was never quaffed.”
He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.
And Maud forgot her brier-torn gown,
And listened, while a pleased surprise
At last, like one who for delay
Maud Muller looked and sighed : “Ah me!
“He would dress me up in silks so fine, And praise and toast me at his wine.
"My father should wear a broadcloth coat, My brother should sail a painted boat.
“I'd dress my mother so grand and gay, And the baby should have a new toy each day.
“And I'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor, And all should bless me who left our door."
The judge looked back as he climbed the hill, And saw Maud Muller standing still ;
A form more fair, a face more sweet, Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.
“And her modest answer and graceful air Show her wise and good as she is fair.
“ Would she were mine, and I to-day, Like her, a harvester of hay.
• No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs, Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,
“ But low of cattle, and song of birds,
But he thought of his sister, proud and cold, And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.
So, closing his heart, the judge rode on,
But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
And the young girl mused beside the well,
He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Yet oft, in his marble heart's bright glow,
And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
Oft, when the wine in his glass was red,
And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms, To dream of meadows and clover-blooms;
And the proud man sighed with a secret pain, “ Ah, that I were free again!
“ Free as when I rode that day, Where the barefoot maiden raked the hay.”
She wedded a man unlearned and poor, And many children played round her door.
But care and sorrow, and childbirth pain, Left their traces on heart and brain.
And oft, when the summer sun shone hot On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,
And she heard the little spring brook fall Over the roadside, through the wall,
In the shade of the apple tree again
And, gazing down with timid grace,
Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
weary wheel to a spinnet turned, The tallow candle an astral burned ;
And for him who sat by the chimney lug, Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,
A manly form at her side she saw,